Carlos Guillen played the part of a goat for the first nine innings tonight. He managed to fail in the field, on the bases and at the plate. In the top of the second, Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno reached safely when Guillen was late to cover first on a bunt back to the mound.
Then, in the top of the second, Guillen was too slow to tag up on a fly ball by Gerald Laird and was thrown out at third. The play cost the Tigers a run as the next batter Danny Worth smashed a double which would have scored Guillen.
The Tigers second baseman then hit into a double play with the bases loaded ending a threat in the fifth inning. He left three additional men on base by making the final outs of the third and seventh innings.
Guillen atoned for all his earlier sins when he lined a two balls, no strikes pitch from reliever Brendan Donnelly over the right field fence leading off the bottom of the tenth inning. The home run gave the Tigers a 4-3 victory, their second in two nights versus the Piates in interleague play.
Until Guillen's homer, it was a frustrating night for the Tigers offensively. They had 16 batters reach safely in the first nine innings but managed only three runs. They scored a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Gerald Laird. That was the same play as Guillen's baserunning gaffe, so Laird hit the ball 400 feet and still managed to hit into a double play. It's been that kind of season for the Tigers catcher.
The Pirates then gave the Tigers two runs in the seventh. Reliever Evan Meek fielded a hard grounder from Miguel Cabrera which should have been an inning-ending double play. Instead of going for the easy two, Meek went to third to get the runner there. The next batter Brennan Boesch then tapped one back to Meek, who threw to first baseman Ryan Doumit for what once again should have been the final out. Doumit missed a ball he probably should have caught and two runs scored.
Jeremy Bonderman tossed seven scoreless innings allowing just two runs on six hits. He was hit pretty hard early in the game but retired the last twelve batters he faced. It was a nice rebound from his awful outing versus the Royals last weekend. He left with a 3-2 lead but Joel Zumaya gave up a run in the eighth on three hits. Jose Valverde retired struck out the side in the ninth and Phil Coke pitched a scoreless tenth to give Guillen his opportunity.